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Buccaneers testing guard Ali Marpet at center

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  • By Jeremy Bergman NFL.com
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Jameis Winston, DeSean Jackson and a fiesty kicking competition will likely dominate headlines during Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp, what with 'Hard Knocks' documenting their every waking move this summer.

But one storyline that will almost certainly live under the radar, if it lasts until August, is Ali Marpet's transition on the offensive line.

Entering his third season, Marpet told the Tampa Bay Times on Friday that the Bucs plan to test him at center this summer, moving him inside from his natural right guard position. As a first step, the former second-round pick has been handing snaps to Winston in workouts this week.

"I've been able to get with Jameis (Winston) a couple of times, and otherwise, I've snapped with anyone who will catch the ball," Marpet told the Times. "I go until I feel good, whether that's 20 snaps or 100, whatever it ends up being."

Marpet's move left along the line is necessary because of the return of former Seahawks guard J.R. Sweezy, who spent last season on the physically-unable-to-perform list with a back injury.

With Sweezy occupying Marpet's right guard position, Marpet hopes that the Bucs are going to start training camp, and the season, off with him at center, adding, "If that's the vision they have, that's really cool." Tampa Bay currently employs two veteran centers, Joe Hawley and Evan Smith, but Marpet sounds confident he can win the job.

"I'm a center," Marpet continued. "It's always been in the back pocket. I can still play guard. I know. I've played guard. I imagine they're not saying 'You're the starter, no matter what you do.' But they like the idea, so we're going to try it."

Maybe "Marpet to center" isn't the sexiest position battle or change of the offseason, but hey, it's something.

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